‘The most obvious thing for the candidate to say about his son … is that he loves his adult children but has limited control over their decisions…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) The leftist editorial board at USA Today desperately sought to shield Democratic front-runner Joe Biden from genuine scrutiny over his scandalous Ukraine misconduct with a ‘tough-love’ editorial on Tuesday that glossed over the real issues.
While couching its own defense of Biden in the ostensibly critical write-up, the newspaper then offered the former vice president a platform to wage an unfettered attack on President Donald Trump through a phony point–counterpoint format.
From the very beginning of its editorial, USA Today falsely framed the problem it was pretending to address. “Like it or not, Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden and his son Hunter have been dragged into President Donald Trump’s sleazy arms-for-dirt dealings with Ukraine,” it said, exercising remarkable forbearance in its deployment of loaded language.
“Biden can’t control that,” the editorial whined, “but he can control how he handles questions about the matter.”
Contrary to the torqued-up claims, however, the Bidens dragged themselves into the Ukraine quagmire of their own making well before Trump became president and—according to Democrats—threatened to withhold military support if newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy did not re-open a corruption investigation into the Burisma natural gas company.
Hunter Biden, under duress, finally acknowledged in an October interview that his decision to introduce a clear conflict of interest into U.S. foreign policy during his five years on the Burisma board of directors had reflected poor judgment on his part.
But then, who could blame him for assuming he wouldn’t get caught? After all, his father, in 2017, gloated with impunity about forcing the firing of the prosecutor–general who was investigating Burisma.
Despite the video evidence confessing a cover-up, many in the media continue to include the requisite throwaway line in their reporting that there remains “no evidence” of misconduct on the part of the Bidens.
For USA Today, the issue was not even the fact that Biden engaged in unethical behavior, which closely mirrors the “abuse of power” accusations Democrats have waged against Trump during their impeachment efforts.
Rather, it was that Biden hadn’t done a better job of lying about it, resorting instead to a cagey evasiveness—and sometimes even open hostility—when confronted.
“His responses haven’t been a good look,” the paper scolded.
‘Less a Scandal than a Family Embarrassment…’
Characterizing skeptics as “ill-informed,” USA Today said Biden should have spared the dodgy waffling—not by supplanting them with candor and an acknowledgement of the clear-cut impropriety, but by refusing outright to answer any questions about it.
The great offense he committed by dishonestly flip–flopping on his answers was that he was “potentially giving comfort to Trump loyalists trying to contrive a rigged Senate trial,” charged the newspaper.
It then sought to diminish Joe Biden’s role and downplay Hunter’s by painting a false equivalency to a pair of former presidential black-sheep.
“Less a scandal than a family embarrassment, it falls more into the category of Billy Carter, the ne’er-do-well brother of Jimmy Carter who hawked Billy Beer and lobbied for Libya, and of Neil Bush, the son of George H.W. Bush who got himself embroiled in the savings and loan crisis while his father was vice president,” it said.
Although Hunter Biden’s drug abuse, sex addiction and tax evasion all happened concurrently with the five years that he was drawing millions in “consulting” fees from Burisma as his father directed US–Ukraine policy and anti-corruption efforts, the editorial board wrote off the soon-to-be-50-year-old’s “misjudgments” as the youthful indiscretions of a mischievous scamp.
But the editorial ignored altogether the evidence—which President Donald Trump sought to expose—that the former vice president directly intervened on his son’s behalf by pressuring Ukraine to withhold a billion-dollar loan if it continued to investigate Burisma.
Instead, it claimed, Joe Biden—currently auditioning to be the most powerful person in the world—had no influence over his son’s actions while he was second-in-line to the presidency.
“The most obvious thing for the candidate to say about his son … is that he loves his adult children but has limited control over their decisions,” said the paper. “Any parent can relate to that.”
It further bemoaned the distraction that the unfortunate situation had created for this “experienced, empathetic figure who appeals to working-class voters in key battleground states” (tapping into another false narrative promoted by the Biden campaign).
Nonetheless, it wagged its finger at Biden for having been caught off-guard by the controversy since “to be clear, Trump will do his damnedest to make a big deal of Hunter Biden’s poor judgment and to use him as a justification for his own rogue actions.”
‘The Truth Is Not Up for Debate…’
Adding insult to injury was the editorial’s companion op-ed, attributed to none other than Joe Biden, himself.
Biden pretended to lick the wounds of his light jostling by the USA Today board, presenting a false dichotomy in order to work the “refs” in the mainstream media by equating their supposed criticism to (gasp) Trump support.
“The fourth estate shouldn’t carry Trump’s water on these debunked attacks or perpetuate controversy where there is none,” the aggrieved career politician wrote indignantly.
True to form, though, the bulk of his ink was spent not on an apologia for his own conduct, but rather a full-fledged deflection from it.
“Here’s the only question we should be asking: Did Donald Trump abuse the presidency for personal, political gain?” Biden commenced. “The answer is clear. He openly, brazenly and repeatedly called for foreign interference in our elections.”
Of course, such an outlandish claim on the periphery of the debate at hand hardly bears fact-checking of its own.
But unlike Biden, Trump has been assured of his day in court to definitively resolve any questions surrounding his conduct—and, to some extent, he already has been held accountable for the allegations.
Central to the president’s defense will be whether Biden’s prior misconduct provided reasonable justification for his actions.
Nonetheless, having—to his and the USA Today editorial board’s satisfaction—established Trump’s unquestioned guilt, Biden used the balance of his space as a complimentary campaign ad, pitching his case for why he deserves the nod over his fellow Democratic competitors.
Trump is “going to attack whoever wins the nomination, but I have already proved I can withstand his dirty tricks,” Biden insisted.
“Despite months of lies and vicious attacks against me, my only surviving son, my entire family—my campaign is gaining strength, because the truth is not up for debate,” he continued, presumably as a symphony of tiny violins played behind him.